The women’s soccer team dropped two games in a tournament this weekend at SUNY Fredonia but showed resilience and improvement against its opponents, Allegheny College and University of Rochester.
On Friday Sept. 7 the Knights faced the Allegheny Gators, who have a record of 4-1. Early in the first half, junior Olivia Panepinto fell to injury, knocking the defense’s confidence. Allegheny took advantage of the situation, scoring shortly after. Junior Michelle Barnum was called on to play center back after the injury.
“She stepped in and did a phenomenal job,” head coach Nate Wiley said. Barnum, who entered for just a few minutes during the team’s first two games of the season, played 185 of 190 minutes “exceptionally well” in the tournament, according to Wiley.
The game turned around in the second half for the Knights as they ended the game matching Allegheny 9-9 on shots and dominating 4-2 on corner kicks. The Geneseo offense was unable to score, however, and Allegheny scored a second goal late in the half.
“We just had a lapse in the back, and we missed a mark and they scored on us, and that late in the game put it out of reach for us,” Wiley said.
Wiley made changes to the lineup for another difficult game against the University of Rochester on Saturday Sept. 9.
“We played the best game we’ve played all year and we played better than I could’ve expected at this point,” Wiley said.
The game stayed a suspenseful 0-0 through both halves. It was only in the last two seconds of overtime that Rochester scored on a corner shot.
“I am just as happy as you can be being zero and four,” Wiley said. “No team wants to be zero and four, but we’re zero and four because we’re playing good teams, and that’s what’s going to help us as we get into those really tough conference games later this year.”
Senior Bethany Kwarta and freshman Marissa Benson were named as part of the all-tournament team, an acknowledgement of their hard work.
Wiley said that the team’s demanding schedule is exactly what they need right now. The Knights will need to draw from the experience they are gaining now when they face the high-quality teams of conference play later in the season.
The Knights play their home opener at 4 p.m. Thursday Sept. 13 on Saratoga Field. They will face the Nazareth Golden Flyers, who have a record of 1-1-2.
“I anticipate it will probably be a pretty close game again this year, hopefully with us scoring our first couple goals of the year and getting our first win,” Wiley said.